Home » How Should Cycling Shoes Fit (Beginner Guide)

How Should Cycling Shoes Fit (Beginner Guide)


Nobody is going to stop you if you ride a bike with tennis shoes. But if you compare that to wearing cycling shoes, it becomes evident as soon as you put them on. You clearly see the difference.

Wearing cycling shoes that adapt perfectly to the feet is essential when riding a bicycle. To do this, the first thing to do is to know our cycling shoe size. It is not always an easy task since sizes do not usually coincide exactly with street shoes.

Next, we will try to give you all the keys to learn how should cycling shoes fit. Also, you will get the correct way to take your own measurements.

Why Is Bike Shoes Sizing Important?

Bike shoe sizing is essential as cycling involves the legs most than other body parts. If they aren’t of the right sizes, problems like the following may arise:

Foot discomfort and injury

It is of great importance that the force exerted by the cyclist reaches the pedals with maximum effectiveness. On the other hand, it is convenient at the same time to eliminate pain and discomfort to the feet as much as possible. It implies the use of comfortable and useful shoes. And if at the same time you want to dress elegantly, it is not easy.

In addition to effectiveness, comfort, and elegance, we want footwear that allows us to avoid injuries. That is why it is essential to use appropriate cycling shoes for each type of foot and each cycling specialty.

The most important thing is that the shoes adapt perfectly to the cyclist’s foot.

Sleeping fingers

We often hear cyclists that their toes go numb. The most likely cause is usually due to the use of narrow or too tight shoes.

It must also be taken into consideration that very tight shoes can irritate the extensors (instep). A finger position claw probably causes a cyclist’s feet suffering from cramps.

Adequate templates improve plantar pressure. However, to improve performance, it is essential to get a good position.

It Brings Us To Another Important Question.

How Tight Should Cycling Shoes Be?

Choosing the right tightness is the first thing we think it appropriate to talk about since it is the most important than any other technical and aesthetic aspect.

The cycling shoe must have a precise fit:

  • Not too tight, because the excessive compression of the foot could generate discomfort or pain,
  • But not too abundant, because in this way, the foot could have space to make abnormal movements. Especially in the area of the heel. That, in the long run, can cause inflammation and injury.

How To Fit Cycling Shoes: Parameters Useful For Buying A Cycling Shoe?

To define a type of foot and identify its fit for cycling shoes, we need to measure some critical points of the foot:

  • Maximum longitudinal length
  • Maximum transverse width
  • Structure of the phalanges (identifying the type of forefoot)
  • Arch height of the foot (identifying the type of arch)
  • Load distribution on plantar support (with visual analysis of behavior or with specific sensors)

Once these parameters have been determined, we have sufficient data to identify shoes suitable for our foot.

We are often based only on the parameter of the maximum longitudinal length for the purchase of the cycling shoe. We do not take into account the fit of the foot. That is the reason why we find ourselves having to choose a size larger than the usual one.

The choice of the shoe is significant for the comfort and performance of the cyclist. For the correct cycle shoes sizing, the solution is simple but often not very intuitive.

At the time of purchase, to make a comparison between the sole of the foot and the inside of the shoe, we can use what I call the “insole rule. ” That is, just remove the original insole of the boot and compare it with the foot.

How Should Cycling Shoes Fit: Some Tips According To Shoe Type?

As is known, on the market, there are shoes designed for different cycling specialties. There are two types of cycling shoes.

  • Shoes are designed for the road; it is difficult to walk with them because they have outer cleats.
  • Mountain shoes have recessed cleats and are also designed to be able to walk with them.

Comfortable and perfect fit

  • First, the heel must fit snugly to keep it supported throughout the pedal’s rotation.
  • When the shoe is fastened, there should be even pressure on the instep.
  • At the end of the shoe, there should be a small camera for the fingers.
  • Also, the shoe should keep the instep stable without pinching it.
  • There should be no large gaps or creases in the material, either.
  • Finally, the ball of the foot should be in the widest part of the shoe to allow the correct positioning of the cleat.

Women’s sneaker fit

Women’s sneaker fit

  • When buying cycling shoes, the first thing to consider is the anatomical difference between males and females.
  • The female foot does not differ from the male-only by its size.
  • In addition to that, the female foot usually has a higher arch than the male, a narrower heel, and a shallower first toe.
  • The circumference of the instep of the female foot is also smaller.
  • Besides, women have shorter instep and ankle lengths than men.
  • The anatomy of the female foot requires shoes specifically designed to fit women.

Final Verdict

We hope this guide is useful to you, and now you know what to consider when buying a good pair of shoes to ride your bike. However, the answer to the question ‘how should cycling shoes fit’ is not the same for everyone.

In all cases, as we said at the beginning of this article, pay particular attention to choosing the right size and shape for your foot. It is because these are the elements that really make a difference.